It’s back-to-school time, which means it’s also time to spend an alarming amount of money on back-to-school clothes, backpacks, shoes, etc.
Or is it?
Before you break out that credit card, I wanted to make sure you’re thinking about one of my favorite stores that’s guaranteed not to break the bank- Goodwill.
As my kids continue to get older and the cost of their clothes seems to grow along with their fashion opinions, I’ve realized that I have to find a way to cut back the spending. And once I started asking around, I can’t even tell you how many friends recommended thrift shopping.
In fact, on a recent camping trip one of my close friends was raving about how much she’s saved by cutting back on Target and going vintage instead… And her finds were so cute!
All three of her kids (and her) were decked out an I had no idea the majority of the stuff wasn’t bought new!
And you know what’s even better than saving money? Saving money while contributing to a worthwhile cause. Which is EXACTLY what you’re doing when you shop at your local Goodwill because- and most people don’t know this- they use their profits to fund career training for the unemployed.
You see, not all thrift stores are created equal. Many operate just like every other for-profit clothing store.
The big secret about Goodwill is their primary mission is NOT to run thrift stores. Each Goodwill region uses thrift sales to support free career path education and job placement services for the unemployed, homeless and other individuals facing barriers to quality of life.
In fact, the region near me in Western Washington just launched a brand new free advanced manufacturing course (think aerospace and other manufacturing) that can put folks into $20/hr jobs… and with dedication, a little more training, and work the program can even lead to management/specialized positions paying $35/hr within 4 to 6 years.
How amazing is that?!
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to hit up your local Goodwill this back-to-school season. Before you go, though, I’ve partnered with them in a really cool way to give you lots of must-know tips on how to score the best finds.
This week they allowed me an insider’s view into their 3rd Annual STUDENT fall fashion forecast. Wanna know what I learned? Here we go…
First up fellow blogger, Leslie Pleasants, had these tips to share on how we can get the kids on board:
- Be there, but NOT there. I like to allow my kids the opportunity to seek out their own fashion without mom in tow … so we go to the store together but shop separately.
- Give ’em a list. I arm my son with a shopping checklist and, while he shops, I head over to my favorite sections of the store. This SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL for both of us and in the end I still screen for appropriateness, but not as a helicopter mom.
- Don’t forget about spirit days and school activities. Goodwill is a great source for “spirit days” shopping and other organized school fashion activities through the year. That’s because it’s hard to find a store or stores that cover the wide range of attire and accessories needed for those activities, EXCEPT in thrift where all the inventory is unique. So know your planned school activities and shop thrift year-round for stuff to work!
- Don’t forget the shoes! Thrift is a great place to hunt those sough-after brands for boys and trendy styles for girls.
Next up is college student Brittney Getsinger sharing how and why she shops Goodwill.
- Take advantage of the huge variety in thrift stores. Brittney says, “I shop thrift because so much of the merchandise is unique as donated household clothing and items. And many times the merchandise is new, with the tags still on! At brand name stores I would have to go to 3 to 4 places… here at Goodwill it is all under one roof.
Finally, student Alexander Delgado, also shared his approach to thrift verses new shopping:
- Hit the stores in the morning and find the locations that have a tendency for your age and style – be it junior men’s or other. So visit a few places and learn the ones who have a good production department for your tasted and needs.
- It’s all about frequency and consistency. If you come once a week then over the course of a month of course you are going to find some good stuff. It’s all about being at the store when those unique items come out. And clothing comes out multiple times in the day.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Miss the Sales!
Last but not least, don’t forget that Goodwill also runs tons of amazing promotions throughout the year. Take advantage of the big discounts on already amazingly low prices and you’ll be absolutely shocked how much you can save.
These promos apply to stores south of Seattle and other Puget Sound Penninsula locations (click on the link for store locations). If you’re nearby like me, don’t miss these current or upcoming promotions for back-to-school…
o Student discount days / Tag sales / military, senior, other specials calendar: https://www.goodwillwa.org/shop/events-sales/calendar/
And don’t forget you can always see what new deals are coming down the pipeline in Western Washington by following @goodwillwa on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (check out their super cute back-to-school inspiration board), by following @wagoodwill on Instagram, or by signing up for their newsletter here.
*This post is sponsored by Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.